“The Holy One of God” (Mark 1:23-27
I. Introduction. A. Orientation. 1. Last week, we considered what set Jesus’ ministry apart from that of the scribes – He spoke with power and authority. a. With power because He was anointed with the Spirit above measure. b. And with authority because He was the Divine Author of the Word. 2. We also saw how this can lead to greater power and authority in our service. a. We can minister that authority. (i) God’s Word has authority. (ii) We don’t have to prove that authority before we can use it. (iii) We can use it with the confidence the Lord will work what He intends through it. b. Second, we can also minister with power through the same Spirit. (i) He has given us His Spirit through the Gospel. (ii) One thing the Spirit does is give us boldness and courage. (iii) And so let’s be encouraged to be filled with the Spirit that we might serve more effectively. B. Preview. 1. This morning, we’re returning to the same passage to pick up another theme we passed over last week: Jesus is the Holy One of God. 2. The fact that He cast this demon out with a word shows us His authority – but it reveals a few other things as well: a. First, it helps us to see His true nature. b. Second, it helps us to see why the warfare between the two kingdoms exists. c. And third, it shows us what the outcome of this warfare is going to be. d. Let’s consider each of these for a few moments. II. Sermon. A. Let’s first of all consider that this encounter between Jesus and the demon possessed man shows us something of Jesus’ nature: that He is the Holy One of God. 1. We see this first by way of contrast: a. This man was possessed by an unclean spirit. (i) Now this spirit wasn’t always this way. (a) He actually began his life as a holy being. (b) He was likely created on the first day of Creation. (c) He was made to be holy to the Lord, to serve those that would inherit eternal life.
(ii) But he made a terrible choice: (a) He followed Lucifer when he rebelled against the Lord. (b) He lost his holiness – his moral purity – and became pure evil. (c) Now he is unclean and unholy; all he wants is to destroy God’s work. (d) That’s why he took possession of this man. b. Jesus, on the other hand, is holy – more than just holy, He is the Holy One. (i) He is God. (a) His holiness is infinitely greater than any of the holy angels. (b) They are creatures – He is the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Triune Holy God, the Creator. (c) He is pure goodness, infinite purity. (ii) He is God in human flesh – God in our nature. (a) He’s the One the Father sanctified – set apart as holy – and sent into the world to become one with us (John 10:36). (b) The One conceived by the Holy Spirit without sin in the womb of the Virgin. (c) The One anointed with the Spirit above measure to deliver man from sin. c. Is it any wonder the unclean spirit said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth?” d. Yet they do have much to do with each other, as we’ll see. 2. The other way we see Jesus’ holiness is by way of testimony. a. The demon said, “I know who You are – the Holy One of God!” (v. 24). b. It’s interesting that this demon recognized Him, as they all did. (i) Perhaps from His incarnation. (ii) Maybe from the voice from heaven at His baptism. (iii) They must certainly have been aware of His victory over their commander in the wilderness. (iv) It could have been the miracles He had already performed. (v) Or maybe they recognized Him as the One they worshipped in heaven. (vi) For whatever reason, they knew and this one even said it – even demons sometimes tell the truth. (vii) Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ, the Holy One of God. B. Second, understanding that there was a rebellion in heaven also helps us to understand why the war between them continues on earth – it’s not only because of what happened in heaven, but also because of what was happening on the earth. 1. When Satan fell, he tempted man and succeeded in usurping control of the earth. a. When he tempted Christ in the wilderness, he offered Him the kingdoms of the earth, because they were handed over to him (Luke 4:5). b. They were in a sense given to him by Adam when he fell away from God.
2. But now the Holy One, Jesus, had come to take it all back. a. He had already begun to plunder his house; and there was nothing Satan could do about it. (i) He can’t hold on to any soul Jesus lays claim to. (ii) He can fight and resist – as this demon did by throwing the man into convulsions and crying out with a loud voice. (iii) But he must let go, because someone stronger has come against him. (iv) Here is one way Jesus and the demons have to do with each other: Jesus has come to overcome them. b. Jesus won’t stop until He has taken it all back – then everything will be holiness to the Lord. C. This brings us, finally, to the outcome of this warfare. 1. This encounter is a foreshadowing of Jesus’ victory. a. Even the demon knew how it would end. b. He asked, “Have you come to destroy us?” (i) When he said “us” he didn’t mean there was more than one demon in the man. (a) Mark tells us there was only one – “an unclean spirit” (v. 23). (b) The spirit said, “I know who You are” (v. 24). (ii) He was asking whether this was the time Jesus would fully and finally shut him and all his fallen comrades into the prison of hell. (a) He knew they would all be judged together. (b) He just didn’t know when. 2. Here was something else the demon had to do with Jesus. a. He and his kind would be subdued as Jesus’ kingdom grew and filled the earth. b. And at the final judgment, Jesus would justly condemn him and cast him into the lake of fire, along with all who rebelled against God. c. He will do this because He is the Holy One of God. III. Application: Let’s consider three things in closing. A. First, Jesus, as the Holy One, was set apart and sent into this world that we might be sanctified. 1. This is one of His main reasons for coming – to redeem us. a. We were made unholy because of the Fall. (i) The rebellion of the angels against God left them unholy. (ii) Satan’s temptation of our first parents and their fall left them unholy. (iii) And because Adam represented us, we are unholy.
4 b. That’s why we and everyone else apart from God’s grace had the same response when confronted with the Gospel, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth?” (v. 24). 2. We would have nothing to do with Jesus, but thankfully Jesus had something to do with us. a. He took away our sins by the blood of His cross and broke the power of sin by His Spirit. b. This is what He is willing to do for you, if you will trust Him this morning. B. Second, if we trust in Jesus and become holy, we also enter into this warfare. 1. Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!” (Matt. 10:24-25). 2. This war begins when we trust in Jesus, it doesn’t end. a. The world, our flesh and the kingdom of darkness all come against us. b. We have to reckon on this war, we need to learn how to fight it, or we will be casualties. c. Come tonight to learn more of how we can do this. C. But, third, if we are in Jesus Christ, we will overcome these enemies. 1. This Holy One has fought the prince of darkness and overcome him. a. He overcame him in the wilderness. b. He overcame him through the blood of His cross – He cancelled our debts and freed us from our sin, so that the devil no longer has any power over us. 2. He also promises us victory through His victory. a. He will help us overcome their temptations by His Spirit, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). b. We don’t need to submit to them; we don’t need to fear them – we can face them in the power of Jesus Christ and overcome them. c. This is what the table reminds us of this morning: the Holy One of God has come and given His life that He might save us from all our enemies – the world, the flesh and the devil. d. Let’s pray for a few moments and look to Him, thanking Him for His grace and asking Him to apply these truths powerfully to our hearts this morning. Amen.